Ask The Pharmacist: Help in case you’re losing your mind
Don’t you hate it when you’re introduced to someone and you can’t remember the person’s name? What about remembering whether you already told someone that story? It’s like one day you go from young to old.
This stuff seems to happen more and more as you age. Why does it happen to some of us, and not to others? I’ve wondered. I think it has to do with elevated homocysteine, at least in part. Emerging research about homocysteine connects it to neurofibrillary tangles, and those are associated with progressive memory disorders like Alzheimer’s.
Did you know that NSAIDs and oral contraceptives are strong drug muggers of folate? If you deplete folate (vitamin B9), you block your methylation cycle, homocysteine builds up and memory becomes impaired.
Perhaps maintaining brain function is related to declining levels of another B vitamin called “methylcobalamin.” It’s also known as vitamin B12, a nutrient that is manufactured by your intestinal flora.
Today, health food stores and online e-tailers offer various supplements that you can buy over-the-counter, but of course ask your doctor what’s right for you. I couldn’t possibly know what’s right for each of you and this article reaches million of people, so again, find out if these simple nutritional fixes are ideal for you.
The amino acid acetyl-l-carnitine crosses the blood-brain barrier more readily than regular plain L-Carnitine, and it helps the body make acetylcholine, the brain’s super neurotransmitter that is necessary for healthy mood and optimal cognitive function, as well as muscle health, a side benefit.
A 2014 study concluded that Lion’s Mane promotes the growth of nerve cells in the brain. Lion’s mane increases NGF (nerve growth factor), which then encourages the growth of new neurites. NGF encourages neurons to connect to each other, communicate better and simply put, this helps you learn faster and remember things better.
Bacopa monnieri exerts a strong protective effect on the brain because it inhibits the production of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, and acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that you want a lot of in your brain.
Gotu kola may help to increase the growth of neurons, promoting brain function, reducing mental fatigue, and supporting memory.
Phosphatidylserine begin to decline with age. It helps “connect the wires” upstairs and improve nerve impulse firing.
It’s found in green tea, and EGCG can cross the blood-brain barrier. A 2012 study in mice found that supplemental EGCG promotes brain plasticity in the hippocampus area of the brain.
Today should be an important day for you, particularly if you’re now really thinking seriously about your memory for the first time. I’m not a fan of the “wait and see” approach when it comes to your brain. Our life experiences and family relationships as well as friendships are important memories. Your job depends on your ability to remember the simplest tasks. If you’d like to read the longer version of this article, just sign up for my newsletter at suzycohen.com and I’ll email it to you.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.